Review: One Last Run ­- 'Unbreakable'

The debut album from Manchester hard rock outfit One Last Run was treated to a fair few listens before pen was put to paper.Not that it took multiple listens before I got into it, the exact opposite in fact. I was merely making sure that the first listen wasn’t a fluke for this is a hugely enjoyable album that belittles the relative inexperience of the band. It’s modern and fresh, it’s old school and familiar, it’s their debut album for chrissakes. It’s also the end product of no doubt many long hours slogging up and down the M62 to the next gig. The band will encounter comparisons to Halestorm, as both have that uncanny ability to shift from dark to light without losing aggression, and both have powerful female vocalists. In the instance of One Last Run, the vocals are provided by Becky Roberts, someone whose voice conveys different shades of emotion with staggering maturity, capable of handling both the screams and the softer moments with great aplomb. The band are not, however, a one trick pony. The guitar work from Rob Leach and Jack Pennington is highly impressive, and in places, echoes Alter Bridge and Black Stone Cherry. It would also be rude not to mention the stellar work of Chris Smith on bass, and his rhythm section cohort Dan Brown on drums. The pair bring a beefy crunch to the party, and Smith especially excels when he releases his inner Flea on ‘Creatures Of The Night.’ The album begins at a frenetic pace with the title track ‘Unbreakable’, a Mark Tremonti-inspired riff that leads into some bludgeoning bass drum action. The song changes tack multiple times, from a fast galloping sound, to a slower groove during the chorus, and Roberts’ vocals impress throughout. If this opens the live shows it will totally slam. Musically, ’Casanova’ has a Black Stone Cherry feel to it, especially the guitar parts, which feature a heady mix of slamming riffs and some neat grooves. Proper head bobbing material this one. Maybe I’m getting old, or it’s just the quality of the softer, slower tracks, but when the band take the foot off the gas, I feel that the album rises up a notch or two. ‘Tell Me’ is the first of these, and one that impresses more with each listen. A gentle intro from Roberts over a steady drum beat, the track is highly infectious and the hooks are lush (Fuck did I really just describe something as ‘lush’?­ Shoot me now!). Likewise, ‘All You Need To Know’ excels with its softer moments, before the guitars crash in and lift the song up to a higher place. The majority of comparisons to Halestorm come in on ‘Run And Hide’, especially on the gentle piano part that accompanies the opening verse. The atmosphere builds, before some chest-beating guitar work from the guys, which in places is sublime and evokes memories of Slash on a cliff top in the ‘November Rain’ video. It’s easy to picture this one being a massive moment during the live set… you know, that moment just before the main set finishes when the band usually play a slow burner, the dry ice pours off the stage as the song reaches it’s climax, then the band take their bows, soak up the applause then exit stage left. This is the song to provide that perfect moment.
The finest track on the album, however, comes with closing track ‘Given Up’, which features Mike Kingswood from Glamour Of The Kill on guest vocals alongside Roberts. Fucking hell, it’s good. An outstanding acoustic track, which sounds simply massive. Nothing fancy, just two different vocal tones stripped back and baring their souls for all to witness. Imagine if Radio One gave up on James Bay, Jack Garratt, et al, and took a punt on a track like this ? It truly has the chops to be stratospheric. Play, repeat, play, repeat….. There’s something for everyone on this album. A great mix of slamming hard rock (‘Reckless’, ‘Rise Or Fall’, amongst others), along with the aforementioned softer moments. Like the dragons in the den say… I’m in. The album is out now. For more info head HERE You can catch One Last Run at one of the following shows: 19th May – Swansea | The Scene 20th May – Birmingham | Scruffy Murphy’s 21st May – Leicester | The Shed 24th May – Leeds | Milos Bar 27th May – Glasgow | Shadow Sound 28th May – Edinburgh | Bannermans* 29th May – Bolton | Alma Inn Review: Dave Stott
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